The law of conservation of energy, which states that the amount of energy in a system is constant. For questions about Earth's environment, see the climate-science tag instead.

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Help with equations for deflecting an asteroid

This is a homework assignment, but not the physics part. I have to write a python script to simulate the size of a warhead required to deflect an asteroid (parameters inputted by user) that is on a ...
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1answer
168 views

Spherical wave amplitude near to source

Let us assume, I generate spherical waves from a point source, of the form $f(t)=\sin(t)$. At $r$ distance, it will be $\sin(t)/r$. Let us take $r = 0.1$ for example. Then, at this distance, the ...
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42 views

What is “W external” and “W internal” in Energy conservation law?

When I solve the energy conservation problem, I am confused when I have to make the term positive or negative. For example, someone throws a ball right up to the ground with velocity, $v$. The ball ...
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5answers
462 views

Why doesn't this perpetual motion machine work?

Imagine a non-magnetic tube bent into the shape of a triangle, with two sides forming downhill ramps, and the third side connecting the two ramps. Through this tube travels a metal ball, which is ...
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0answers
75 views

Momentum of capacitor in a uniform magnetic field

We are observing ideal, charged, parallel plate capacitor placed in uniform magnetic field parallel to plates. Whole system is at rest and isolated (we have forces that hold plates separated, but net ...
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1answer
69 views

Energy loss in the photoelectric effect

If a photon hits an electron with an energy that is less than the energy required to change the energy level of an electron, what happens to the energy of the photon (is it not absorbed and just pass ...
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1answer
212 views

Picturing Feynman's argument about perpetual motion

So, there is a certain paragraph in Fenyman's book that I'm struggling with for quite some time. It says: "We imagine that there are two classes of machines, those that are not reversible, which ...
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1answer
104 views

A universe from nothing [duplicate]

The more time you spending in measuring your experiment (thus standard deviation will become smaller) the more precisely you will measure energy of this system.... energy time uncertainly principle ...
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4answers
129 views

Can conservation of momentum and conservation of energy explain every possible event in the Universe?

I heard my friend, a researcher, say that we can, in theory, explain every event happening in the universe using the Conservation of momentum and energy. He added that we may not be able to do that ...
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71 views

Perpetual Mobile and Gravitation

I have fundamental question about what is called the “law of conservation of energy”. We all hear about the tidal power stations which using the tidal power. The source of the tidal power came from ...
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1answer
88 views

Where does elastic energy come from?

I vaguely remember reading that the elastic potential energy of a spring, $\frac{1}{2} k x^2$ comes from mass which is turned into energy according to the law $E=mc^2$. I also remember hearing that ...
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76 views

How to prove the energy of gravity in general relativity is non-local?

Every textbook in general relativity containing the energy of gravity all says that the energy of gravity is non-local and every energy-momemtum density received is pseudo-tensor, but "having not ...
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1answer
725 views

Why does electron move closer to the nucleus when it emits light and not vice-versa?

The book tells me that electrons move more close to the nucleus when emission occurs and it moves far away from the nucleus when absorption occurs: why it's not vice-vers? As I understand, the ...
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4answers
173 views

Virtual particles/quantum tunneling - conservation of energy?

I'm confused as to how the above phenomena can take place since arent they breaking the law of conservation of energy (even, if temporarily)?
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3answers
501 views

Energy not conserved with accleration by a constant force

Suppose I have an object with mass $m$ in vacuum that I propel by applying a constant force, $F$, on it, with a rocket engine that I supply a constant amount of energy, $\frac{\delta ...
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1answer
108 views

Calculating coefficient of friction

Consider a body attached to a horizontal spring and resting on a surface, inclined at an angle $\theta$ from the ground. The spring constant is $k$. Initially the spring was kept in its ...
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3answers
405 views

Why does the work done by an internal force differ from the work done by external force?

Let's consider the following situation. We put a body of mass $m$ at a distance $A$ from the center of Earth. We let the Earth attract the body and analyze the situation at a point $B$, closer to the ...
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1answer
245 views

How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere ...
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1answer
558 views

A pendulum's rope swings and strikes a peg [closed]

So I have this problem, as far as I can tell I solved it correctly, and it's not equal to any of my answer choices. The problem is: A rope of length $L$ is attached at one end to a ceiling and at ...
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4answers
7k views

Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot?

I read in this answer in this site that the KE a free-falling ball acquires is not originated by the attracting body but that energy was actually stored in the ball when it had been lifted to the ...
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1answer
148 views

If you spin a magnet in space, far from any magnet field, would it spin forever, being able to produce electricity forever?

This is of course a purely theoretical question and it would take energy to get the magnet moving in the first place but once it's moving in the vacuum of space, with no gravity or magnetic field ...
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3answers
6k views

Conservation of momentum but not kinetic energy in inelastic collisions

In inelastic collisions, the kinetic energy of the system is not conserved but the momentum is. Kinetic energy is: $0.5 \times \text{mass} \times \text{velocity}^2$. Momentum is: ...
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2answers
487 views

How does escape velocity relate to energy and speed?

I have several confusions regarding escape velocity. I am sure I am missing something(s) obvious or maybe I am taught wrong. Lets say we throw an object of any mass at exactly escape velocity of ...
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1answer
93 views

Gravitational Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy

When a yo-yo is released from a height $h$, the gravitational potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. However, the yo-yo obviously has less acceleration than $g$, $9.8\frac{m}{s}$. This means ...
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320 views

As the universe expands, the wavelengths of photons are stretched, and energy is lost. What about electrons?

Will electrons, and other particles, also loose energy as they travel through the cosmos? They have wavelengths. Do they get "stretched"? My guess is that the EM force, somehow, counteracts this ...
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2answers
356 views

Conservation of momentum and energy in an explosion

One simple problem is physics is to determine the mechanical energy difference after an explosion. To do this, you must assume that momentum is conserved because in a explosion you have internal ...
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2answers
93 views

Conservation of energy in a different frame of reference

Consider a rollercoaster that goes down a slope: At the higher level it has speed $v_0$, then it goes down a slope and at the end it has speed $v_0 + \Delta v$. The carriage is not powered and has ...
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1answer
158 views

Why isn't jumping against a wall an elastic collision?

According to this calculator http://www.abecedarical.com/javascript/script_collision1d.html when low mass object hits high mass object it is reflected gaining opposite velocity almost the same as ...
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1answer
51 views

Interference and energy question here

So Im reading this material on interference and I noted the following sentence : During the interference of the light of two coherent light sources,the intensity of the radiation changes ...
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1answer
56 views

Action Reaction Pairs and Work

Say that a ball is sitting in front of a compressed spring launcher. The spring is then released. The spring applies a force on the ball for a certain distance. This force is accompanied by an equal ...
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1answer
164 views

Given the spring constant & maximum kinetic energy; length of spring extension? [closed]

I need to understand the following question before i right my exam tomorrow. A body attached to a spring with spring constant 100 N/m executes simple harmonic motion. The maximum kinetiv energy of ...
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2answers
199 views

How to model energy loss in a rotating body?

I recently asked a question about modeling instability in a rotating rigid body. I now realize that I was mentally confounding two different effects: The "Dzhanibekov effect" in which a rigid ...
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2answers
93 views

What does $ {\bf F} = \frac{\mathrm{d}W}{\mathrm{d}{\bf x}}$ actually mean?

What does the formula $$ {\bf F} ~=~ \frac{\mathrm{d}W}{\mathrm{d}{\bf x}}$$ actually mean? Here $\mathrm{d}W$ is the work done in a small period, ${\bf F}$ is the force and $\mathrm{d}{\bf x}$ is a ...
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1answer
65 views

Black Hole mass increase from infalling body

When a body falls into a black hole, the black hole's mass increases. Does this mass increase depend only on the rest mass of the infalling object, or is it affected by the velocity of the infalling ...
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1answer
55 views

Is the quantity $mv^{2}$ also conserved?

The following is my reasoning: Suppose $\vec{F}$ is a conservative force field. Then the total mechanical energy, $E$, of the isolated mechanical system is a conserved quantity which implies that ...
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4answers
375 views

Potential Energy Concept

Imagine a book that we lift it with a force that is exactly equal to the force of gravity so the forces cancel out and the book moves with a constant velocity. Consider the situation after the book ...
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1answer
93 views

Redshift of a reflected photon from a solar sail

Can someone help me understand my mistake here? I'm thinking of a photon travelling with momentum $p=h/\lambda$ which reflects off a solar sail of mass $m$ travelling with momentum $p_0$ in the same ...
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1answer
158 views

Finding direction of a ball after collision in cartesian coordinate system [closed]

In elastic collision of ball to wall along x axis m*Vix=m*Vfx as velocity of wall is 0 before and after collision thus Vix=Vfx ......eq(1) Kinetic Energy is conserved so m*Vi2 = m*Vf2 (Vix2 + ...
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0answers
62 views

The universe could have created itself? [duplicate]

So in this Youtube video http://youtu.be/ZjaaSUHG7Xo The guy says, around 6:15, that the total energy of the universe is zero because of gravitational potential (or something like that i dont ...
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2answers
134 views

Does expanding space cost energy?

Does the cosmic inflation reduce the energy density (inversely) proportional to the volume, or does the inflation "cost" energy? Is space itself "something" created at the expense of energy?
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2answers
48 views

Determinate the right force intensity given a certain amount of energy to spend

I am using Chipmunk's physics engine to simulate 2D classical mechanics of solid polygons (excellent by the way!). The only way you can alter the spontaneous behaviour of the the simulated objects is ...
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1answer
111 views

Classical mechanics; gravitation question [closed]

There is a crater of depth $R/100$ on the surface of the moon (radius $R$). A projectile is fired vertically upward from the crater with a velocity, which is equal to the escape velocity from the ...
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2answers
82 views

Where does energy go when performing a useless effort?

I went to school one day, so I thought I was able to get this simple one.. but it looks like I'm not anymore. :( One lonely little spaceship is resting into space. It has a small fuel capacity that ...
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1answer
364 views

Sufficient conditions for the energy to be not conserved?

I'm almost embarrased to ask this question because I thought I was by now very confident with classical mechanics. Someone has stated that given a mechanical system with a Lagrangian $L$ s.t. ...
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0answers
49 views

Defining axes for conservation of energy [closed]

Problem: A bungee-cord jumper is on a bridge that is $y_1$ above water level $y_2$. The bungee cord obeys Hooke's law with spring constant $k$ and has a relaxed length $L$ The jumper stops before ...
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0answers
72 views

Avoiding Pseudo-tensors when addressing global conservation of energy in GR

Discussions about global conservation of energy in GR often invoke the use of the stress-energy-momentum pseudo-tensor to offer up a sort of generalization of the concept of energy defined in a way ...
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1answer
94 views

Please explain the flaw in this picture [duplicate]

So I saw this picture on my google+ feed and I immediately know why it wont work. But I'm having trouble explaining to myself and others exactly why. Without using anything overly complex, can anyone ...
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3answers
173 views

When you measure position of an electron in a energy pure state, what happens to the energy?

When you measure the position of an electron that is in a pure energy state, what happens the energy becomes non-deterministic. That is future measurements of energy can only be predicted with respect ...
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2answers
765 views

When they say that the universe cooled after the big bang, where did the heat go?

Layman here, Stumbling through some physics stack posts and started reading the Wikipedia for the chronology of the big bang. In it, it states The very earliest universe was so hot, or energetic, ...
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1answer
41 views

Calculate electricity generation

A friend of mine stays near a water stream and wanted help to use its water. The height up to which the water could be raised using the water flow is 12ft. How much electricity can it produce? Is it ...